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SVP Activities

Twinnage, what is it?

Who is our neighbour?

About 50 years ago, somebody asked that question. Till then, SVP had been people who worked with the poor of their own neighbourhood, in their own parish. It dawned on SVP that there were much poorer people in faraway countries and that we should see them as needing our help as well. This is when someone came up with the idea of Twinnage. What is “Twinnage”?

Twinnage is when a Conference in a richer country is linked with one in a poor part of the world. There are three links: prayer, correspondence and money. So, if your parish conference has a twin in (usually) India, the English Vincentians and the Indian Vincentians write to each other and pray for each other. The English twin sends a regular amount of money (£100 at the moment) out to the poorer conference in India. With this money coming in regularly, our Indian brothers and sisters are able to help their own poor people with whatever they need.

Sometimes, the foreign conference sees that people’s lives could be changed if they had, say, goats, or sewing machines, chickens or buffaloes. They then set up a project and the conference here in our diocese finds the money to enable them to buy whatever it is they need. Another way we help is by setting up scholarships to pay for people to be trained so that they can find a job and be useful to their communities.

On Boxing Day in 2004 a terrible tsunami was caused by an underwater earthquake far out in the ocean. This set up a huge wave which reached the land and did terrible damage, killing many people and leaving numerous orphans. The SVP in India, Sri Lanka and elsewhere received money from our people here in England and Wales and used it to ensure that these orphaned children could go to primary school. We paid for books and even bicycles . We even bought them umbrellas so that they could keep dry on the way to school in the monsoon rains!

We also help the people of Sudan. We have sent up training and medical centres to help them. An enormous amount of money has been found for the Feeding Centres to ensure that babies and toddlers eat a decent meal four or five times a week.

So, you see, we are trying to answer the question “Who is our neighbour?” as St. Vincent would. His answer would be “Whoever is in need, wherever they are.”

A place to liveSomeone's homeRunning out of foodIan with the children

Written by Ian Mawdsley

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3rd March 2014

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